Fitness to practise hearing for Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba set for April

A medical tribunal will consider next month whether Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba can return to work, nearly a year after Court of Appeal judges quashed a ruling that led to her being struck off.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) confirmed a review hearing will take place on 8 and 9 April to decide whether Dr Bawa-Garba is now safe to return to unrestricted practice.

In December the MPTS extended the suspension on Dr Bawa-Garba's registration by six months. It said at the time that the extension was agreed by both the GMC and the doctor herself, who was ‘unable to attend a public hearing at present due to personal circumstances’ - and that a review would take place before the end of the six-month period.

The review could mark the end of a hugely controversial case that saw Dr Bawa-Garba struck off early last year, sparking widespread concerns over implications for doctors taking part in written reflection and triggering government and GMC policy reviews.

A GMC spokesperson said: 'Dr Bawa-Garba asked that her review hearing be held as soon as possible after March and agreed to have the hearing on these dates.'

High court challenge

Dr Bawa-Garba was removed from the medical register in January 2018 after the GMC launched a High Court challenge against an MPTS decision that the junior doctor should face a 12-month suspension.

She had earlier been convicted for gross negligence manslaughter (GNM) in 2015, after the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011. A two-year suspended sentence followed, but Dr Bawa-Garba was able to continue working until the medical tribunal ruling in 2017, followed by the controversial GMC challenge that led to her being struck off.

The GMC argued at the time that suspension was insufficient and that Dr Bawa-Garba should be struck off because the tribunal appeared to have taken a less severe view of her actions than the court that convicted her of GNM. The GMC won its case, only for the Court of Appeal to overturn it in a case made possible by a major public fundraising effort.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt criticised the GMC over its handling of the case, warning that patients could be put at risk because of the impact it would have on doctors' willingness to reflect openly on mistakes. GPonline revealed last year that many GPs had begun a boycott of written reflection amid concerns raised by the Bawa-Garba case.

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